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Doctor Who: The Murder Game Paperback – 7 Jul 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; 1st Paperback Printing edition (7 July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563405651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563405658
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 11.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 672,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a cracking read. It is not unique in its combination of Doctor Who and the whodunit genre: the episodes Robots of Death, Black Orchid and The Unicorn and the Wasp have all done it (the latter featuring Agatha Christie herself, no less). Even among the BBC Doctor Who books, there has been Five Little Aliens, a First Doctor adventure, though the companions, Polly and Ben, are the same as in this one.

I think this one works better than Ten Little Aliens (reissued last year for the 50th anniversary), which is over-egged, a bit arch, more plotty and with rather too many underdeveloped characters - excusable in this genre, perhaps, but it makes it more of an effort, rather than a pure pleasure.

Here you can just sit back and enjoy as the TARDIS lands in a fading hotel in space, just as a murder mystery game is starting...and (of course!) a very genuine murder is about to take place. I have always thought that Polly and Ben were the best double act of the Doctor's companions ever, and they play a very enjoyable and active part here. Patrick Troughton's Doctor is very fondly remembered, and here he even gets to wear drag!

A superb read - light but very engaging. Joy Swift's Original Murder Weekends frequently feature an actor who is a massive fan of Patrick Troughton's Doctor. I must recommend this to him (though I bet he's already got it!)...
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Format: Paperback
Reminds me of Colin Baker's Doctor and Mel aboard the spaceship and their adventure with the Vervoids (sp?) - it has that same claustrophobic feel. Here, instead of lying about their motives outright, the participants have the luxury of using 'The Murder Game' as a cover for their true actions. The only thing missing is Polly forcing carrot juice on Troughton's Doctor! Unlike others who have voiced trouble in visualizing the Second Doctor in character, I actually could hear his Troughton-esque ramblings and rumblings. I also enjoyed Ben's uneasiness of character in playing dress-up, and Polly's enjoyment of same. Overall, an appealing adventure!
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Format: Paperback
The Murder Game is the 2nd Past Doctor Adventure released by BBC Books. It features the 2nd Doctor who never really gets as much exposure as the other Doctors, mainly due to a high number of his TV appearances being wiped so it is always nice to read stories featuring him.

The book reads just like a 60's 6 parter. Whether this is a good thing or not is entirely up to the reader but don't expect in depth characterisations or challenging story lines. Personally I quite like the simplistic novels, they hark back to a time where Doctor Who was just a really good story.

Talking of story The Murder Game breaks absolutely no new ground and the first half really isn't surprising at all. The TARDIS crew get an SOS call to a desolate space hotel but they arrive to find seemingly nothing wrong and the few guests that are there are taking part in a murder mystery game. Naturally this means real murders start taking place. This scenario has been done to death and it does feel like cliché after cliché but it is surprisingly enjoyable. The story does move on from that premise with the introduction of a race of space sharks (the Selachians) and the second half of the book does get less predictable.

Character wise it's a mixed bag. The TARDIS crew are spot on, Ben and Polly are given a huge role and there relationship is explored brilliantly. Likewise there is no question that the Doctor is Patrick Troughton, Steve Lyons has him down to a tee. However the supporting cast are barely even 2 dimensional, let alone 3. This was obviously going to happen when you are dealing with that many characters but a couple of them may as well have been called guest A and guest B. It's only a minor gripe though as Ben and Polly are the stars of the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story with interesting new aliens 18 Oct. 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Another story featuring the underutilised TARDIS crew of the second Doctor, Ben and Polly.
The TARDIS arrives on a space station in 2146. Originally a luxury hotel, it has fallen on hard times and is being used to host a murder mystery hotel. However, someone is taking the "murder" aspect of the game far too seriously...
Waiting in the wings are the Selachians, an alien race with a serious axe to grind after years of persecution, who are after something in the hotel which will help them revenge their mistreatment. They are quite complex, rather than being simple killing machines that many alien races are depicted as in Doctor Who.
The novel features good portrayals of Ben and Polly, who show stronger feelings for each other than have otherwise been portrayed. This doesn't surprise me, as they more-or-less flirted with each other at various points.
While the story is not as complex as many Doctor Who novels, however this suits the period of the show in which this story is set. It doesn't require familiarity with the show to be enjoyed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Doctor Who Mystery 4 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This was a great cross-over book, mystery to science fiction. Doctor Who, Ben and Polly, receive a distress call and materialize on a mostly abandoned hotel ship, where a mystery weekend is being sponsored with a handful of guests. The presence of the Doctor and his companions make just enough people on the ship for the participants to play the game. Until real dead bodies begin to turn up! The only part about this book I didn't like were the baddies, the Selachians; shark-like aliens who stomp around the hotel ship in their own version of astronaut suits which provide the Selachians with the watery atmosphere they need to survive. I thought this was a bit _too_ wierd, but they did their job as bad guys well enough!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The game is what you make of it 24 April 2007
By Michael Battaglia - Published on
Format: Paperback
Typically Troughton is probably the hardest Doctor to write in the original novels because his portrayal was often based on his pretending to be the fool, when in reality he was often the only one who did know what was going on, but didn't want to let on that he knew. As a lot of his episodes were erased, most people haven't really seen his stories and thus tend to think of him as the silly Charlie Chaplin slapstick Doctor from the more widely distributed color stories, plus a lot of his serials only survive in audio form, which gives you part of the story but not the whole deal. Strangely, his charactization is one of the aspects this book gets right, when a number of other things just don't work as well. The TARDIS crew (Ben and Polly here) land in a modified "base under siege" (a common story type in Troughton serials) scenario, winding up at a space hotel that is playing host to a murder mystery game. The crew is actually there because they got a distress signal, but quickly they insinuate themselves into the game, just as the game becomes real and people start actually dying. The basic premise is sound but the author doesn't actually pull it off with any real flair, just sort of going through the motions. The mystery of who the killer is gets dealt with early on without any real tension, especially as none of the characters are really that compelling to begin with, so once people start getting bumped off, you find that you don't really care all that much. It then devolves into people running from one end of the hotel to the other in different groups, either getting attacked or trying to figure out who's doing the attacking, while the plot sort of churns away in the background, not doing much of anything. It doesn't really twist or startle and when the shark aliens finally show up, way earlier than you'd expect, it seems more like they just got tired of the murder plot and wanted to do something else. The aliens aren't especially scary either, their menace comes from the fact that they want to kill everyone but for the most part they stand around insulting humans and shooting people every so often. They're an interesting concept but I think they were handled better in other novels. So you're left with a plot that basically chugs along until you run out of pages, it's not bad but it's not especially memorable either. The story does a little bit with the "Do Ben and Polly fancy each other?" subplot, but really doesn't go anywhere with it, although it is funny to see Ben attempting to flirt. So it evokes the era, but maybe not in the best way, as I said, Troughton's a hard one to capture properly, but with a few more twists or turns, this could have been a lot more exciting than it actually was.
5.0 out of 5 stars my second Doctor novel 31 Dec. 2009
By Rayna Nielsen - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Murder Game (Dr. Who Series) by Steve Lyons is yet another great Doctor adventure. The Doctor follows a distress call to the year 2146 and the run down Hotel Galaxian. Here he finds a role-playing murder mystery game about to get underway. Soon however the game becomes all too real. There are twist and turns in the story in true Doctor fashion and the introduction of the Selachians an alien aquatic warrior race.

The second Doctor travels with two companions in this novel, Ben and Polly. I have never seen an episode with this Doctor but it simply doesn't matter. Even without being able to picture the second Doctor in my head, just knowing the Doctor and his personality was enough to quickly get me into this story.
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